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Pakistan Taliban renews ceasefire offer

December 28, 2012 00:43 IST

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has stated that it is willing to declare ceasefire if the Pakistan government withdraws from the US-led war on terror and forms a new foreign policy in accordance to the holy Quran and Sunnah.

The Taliban offer came in the form of a letter written to senior Pakistani journalist Salim Safi on Wednesday by Punjabi Taliban's head Asmatullah Muawiya that was later endorsed by TTP central spokesperson Ihsanullah Ihsan.

The Punjabi Taliban, which is affiliated to the TTP, comprises militants with Punjabi background.

In the letter, a copy of which was received by, Asmatullah says: 'The Pakistani Taliban follow the Islamic Shariah. The Pakistan Army started the war against us. Still considering them as our own forces, we made a peace deal with it. But the army did not keep its words and (despite the peace agreement) killed Mullah Naik Muhammad (killed in 2004 at Wana).'

'The government did not stop there. They took the war to Sararogha from Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan. On US orders, the tribal areas were turned into a battlefield. The tribesmen were massacred. Pakistani agencies handed Dr Aafia Siddiqui (who was later sentenced to 86-year jail term in September 2010 for shooting FBI agents and US army personnel during her arrest in Afghanistan) over to the US. Islamabad also wrote the bloody episode of Jamia Hafsa and Lal Masjid."

Asmatullah further wrote, 'It was the Army that forced us to abandon jihad inside Kashmir and Afghanistan to start fighting inside Pakistan. For all such fighting, the army and government are responsible and to guard ourselves is our religious right.'

'Still we would offer our services for the country under these conditions:

* If the Army stops working as mercenaries forces for the US;

* The Army becomes a purely Muslim army;

* Instead of killing our own people start preparations to avenge the 1971 defeat;

* The Army fights for the liberation of Kashmir.'

On the ongoing military operation against Taliban, the Taliban leader said: "If forces from 42 countries could not eliminate the Taliban, how can Pakistan hope to win this war?'

Asmatullah put forward three main conditions in front of army and government of Pakistan for restoration peace in the country.

"The government should make independent foreign policy, withdrawal from the Afghan war and form and implement a new Islamic constitution in the country."

Talking to from an undisclosed location, Pakistan Taliban spokesperson Ihsanullah Ihsan said, "Yes, we endorse the demand of the Punjabi Taliban. The TTP will announce ceasefire if the demands are accepted."

Reacting to the Taliban's demands, Awami National Party central leader and Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour stated that the offer for negotiation is an attempt to create division among political parties.

"The statement seemed to be written by some intelligent politician. It is an attempt to create divisions among political parties, especially between the ANP and the Muttahida Quami Movement."

Commenting on the peace offer, journalist Rasool Dawar -- an expert over Taliban issues -- told "There is nothing new in the demands. The Taliban have been making these demands since the day the movement was started."

On whether any ceasefire was possible, Dawar said, "Not at all. Nobody is ready to pay heed to these demands."

Image: Punjabi Taliban's head Asmatullah Muawiya


Tahir Ali in Islamabad